Members of a branch of the city's Labour Party are angry at a decision to stop Councillor Leigh Farrow from standing again.
Members of Moulsecoomb and Bevendean branch of the city's Labour Party have expressed their anger at a decision to stop Councillor Leigh Farrow from standing again at next year's council elections.
A meeting on Wednesday voted unanimously to demand the immediate re-instatement of 59-year-old Cllr Farrow.
The meeting was attended by five members - out of about 30 members in the branch - and two of the three councillors, Cllr Anne Meadows and Cllr Farrow; Cllr Mo Marsh was absent.
The anger of members was fuelled by a last-minute email from Mel Davis, the city party's chair, which said the branch meeting should not go ahead, because the veteran councillor - who had a double heart by-pass operation last November - was under investigation after allegedly swearing at a fellow Labour councillor.
Before the meeting, the Brighton and Hove News website disclosed an email was sent by Robert Brown, chair of the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean branch party, to the three ward councillors and to Nancy Platts, the Labour parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, asking for her help - while warning about damaging fallout.
Before Wednesday's meeting, Mr Brown wrote: “If they (ward party members) turn up and find that one of the councillors has been deselected without consulting the ward members and if Leigh is not reinstated to his post, I can see members leaving the party because it is undemocratic and a hidden few are overruling the members’ wishes.
“This could backfire not only on the council elections next year but also the general election.
“It will look as if Labour cannot work together in the city and as a party in the Kemptown ward.
“The Tory members are just clapping their hands together at this.
“They will say look at Labour. They deselect candidates which the ward has selected and how can you trust them if they do not do what their own party members want?
“This could mean that the city will not trust Labour and the small amount of councillors we do have may become less.
“What the repercussions will be for Nancy I hate to imagine. I hope she can help in this matter. We need a very quick timeline to get this problem over and dealt with.
“We need clear guidance in what needs to be done. If Leigh is not reinstated, a new candidate must be in post by (the) end of October so they can be introduced to ward members and up and running and involved in the ward.”
Mr Brown apologised to Cllr Farrow for sounding mercenary, but said that he had to work for the ward’s sake.
He said: “We will fight on your behalf, and hope that Nancy will fight from her end, to see democracy is and the power of the people is empowered.”
An email from another party member, Ray Metcalfe, carried a similar message.
Mr Metcalfe wrote: “Here we go again. After the slurs against Anne Meadows when she finished her stint as mayor, we had the farcical election for the prospective candidates for the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean ward where it was obvious the executive were trying to shoehorn in their preferred choice at expense of Mo Marsh.
“Now it is Leigh Farrow in the firing line.
“If this continues, the people who pull the strings won’t have any strings to pull and the ward will be lost!”
Today (Saturday), The Argus newspaper reported separate rumours that Cllr Farrow had been suspended from the party, rumours that were immediately denied by Labour's southeast regional office. A Labour spokesperson said: "Councillor Farrow is not and never has been suspended.”
The Argus, however, also reported that the party "failed to clarify rumours" that Cllr Farrow had been stopped from standing at next year's elections.
The denial follows an exclusive report by Brighton and Hove Independent that Cllr Farrow had been suspended from the list of approved council candidates. He has also been removed as a Labour member of the city council's housing committee, leaving him as the only Labour councillor not to sit on any council committees.
He has appealed against his suspension from the list of approved candidates and has asked to be re-instated.
For articles related to the Labour controversy, visit:
The Argus (August 16): Labour deny suspension of Leigh Farrow from Brighton and Hove City Council;
Brighton and Hove News (August 16): Grassroots party members stand by suspended Labour councillor;
Brighton and Hove News (August 14): Labour members in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean urged to join discussion on suspended councillor;
Brighton and Hove News (August 2): Labour suspends Brighton and Hove councillor;
Brighton and Hove News (April 9): Brighton councillor wins selection run-off;
Brighton and Hove News (March 27): Potential Brighton Labour candidate accused of sending misleading email;
Brighton and Hove News (March 21): Furore over Labour’s botched attempt to ‘fix’ safe Brighton seat;
Brighton and Hove News (March 14): Former Albion chief to stand for Labour in Brighton and Hove council elections.